Category Archives: Decolonization Seminar

The International Seminars on Decolonization, which are sponsored by the National History Center, the American Historical Association, and the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, are generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. They bring together young historians from the United States and abroad to Washington, DC to study and discuss the history of decolonization in the 20th-century. The seminar takes place in July-August each year, with applications due in November of the previous year.

Announcing the 2015 Decolonization Public Lectures

We are pleased to announce the 2015 Decolonization Public Lectures.

These lectures are a part of the International Seminar on Decolonization, which is organized by the National History Center, hosted by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the summer of 2015.

Both lectures will be held in Room LJ-119 of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.

Todd Shepard will deliver his lecture “Decolonization and the Sexual Revolution” at 4 PM on July 15. Shepard will explain how the fight for “sexual liberation” in the 1960s and ‘70s, usually explained as a U.S. and European invention, also developed out of the worldwide anti-colonial movement of the mid-twentieth century. This talk focuses on public debates about sex in France and explores how what made this so-called revolution “French”—rather than “Western” or “late modern”— were the central roles played by invocations of “Arab men” and Algeria.

Shepard is an associate professor of history and the co-director of the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (2006) and Voices of Decolonization: A Short History with Documents (2014). His France, Sex, and “Arab Men,” 1962-1979 is forthcoming, and he is completing a manuscript entitled “Affirmative Action and the End of Empires: ‘Integration’ in France (1956-1962) and the Race Question in the Cold War World.

Jordanna Bailkin will deliver her lecture “Unsettled: Refugee Camps in Britain from the Suez Crisis to Idi Amin” at 4 PM on July 22. Bailkin explores two sets of British camps that served the refugees of decolonization: Anglo-Egyptians in 1956 and Ugandan Asians in 1972. In comparing the material culture, built environment, and daily life in these camps, we can see how the trajectories of independence abroad generated new identities – as well as new intimacies and frictions – in Britain itself.

Bailkin is the Giovanni and Amne Costigan Professor of European History at the University of Washington. She is the author of The Culture of Property (Chicago, 2004), and The Afterlife of Empire (Berkeley, 2012). She is currently working on a book about refugee camps in Britain from the 1930s to the 1980s.

See the Decolonization Seminar page and the events digest for more details.

International Seminar on Decolonization 2015 Participants

The National History Seminar is pleased to announce the participants in its tenth and final International Seminar on Decolonization.

Each summer the National History Center’s Decolonization seminar brings fifteen historians near the beginning of their careers to Washington, DC for four weeks to research, discuss, and write about the phenomenon of decolonization, or the dissolution mainly of the European maritime empires in the 20th century. It also sponsors two public lectures on some aspect of the topic.

The seminar is organized by the National History Center, hosted by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the summer of 2015.

The Tenth International Seminar on Decolonization will be held in Washington, DC from Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 31, 2015.

The list of participants can be found here.



9th International Seminar on Decolonization: Upcoming Public Lectures

The National History Center is pleased to announce two public lectures held in conjunction with the Ninth International Seminar on Decolonization.

• Wednesday, July 16 at 4 p.m.: “Spies, Allies, and Murder? The Ominous Origins of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Hanoi’s Postcolonial War,” with Professor Lien-Hang Nguyen.

• Tuesday, July 22 at 4 p.m.: “Decolonization and the Nation-State: Reflections on the 1958 Referendum in French West Africa,” with Elizabeth Schmidt, Ph.D., Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland.

Free and open to the public, the lectures will occur in room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets are not needed. The lectures are co-hosted by The John W. Kluge Center and the National History Center of the American Historical Association.

Sponsored by the National History Center with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the seminar convenes 16 young scholars from around the world at the Library of Congress for four weeks of research and investigation into the dissolution of colonial empires and the emergence of new nations in the period following the Second World War.  For the ninth consecutive year, the International Seminar on Decolonization will be held at The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.